tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Tue Jan 29 22:22:46 2002

Back to archive top level

To this year's listing

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next]

Re: Alphabet

January 29, 2002 7:36 PM ghItlh slapdash <>
Subject: Re: Alphabet

>On Tue, 29 Jan 2002, Aryeh ben Naphtali wrote:

>> I vote for syllabary (like Sumerian, Akkadian, early Ugaritic and
>> Phoenician, modern Amkharic, Japanese Kana). It better suits the
>The problem with a syllabary is that if you don't have restrictions
>on the number of consonants and vowels, or the formations of, it gets
>a bit complicated, and you have many, many characters (for lack of a
>better term) to remember.  I see Klingon as just complicated enough
>that your syllabary would be fairly large.  It doesn't following the
>(C)V or C (only the "nh" sound) form of Japanese (not familiar with
>the rest), which keeps the Japanese syllabary a reasonable size (46,

Excuse my replying in English...

I.J.Gelb of Chicago Oriental Institute has dealt with the problem. It
appears that _all_ Semitic syllabaries later developed into alphabets
(originally, they had had "C+any vowel" structure: hence Arabic and Hebrew
writing systems). In tlhIngan Hol, the same principle is perfectly valid:
C+any consonant=a syllable (with the exception represented by the cases when
the syllable is pausal and therefore "mute" (the end of a word)). Therefore,
the close-syllable word, the kind most typical of the language, with look
like C+V+C(v). All in all (I have counted... sorry, I like maths when I talk
about languages), the total number of syllable signs appears to be about
300. This is quite feasible: modern Amkharic has 240 (in practice, I must
admit, fewer: about 180).

References: I.J.Gelb. A Study of Writing. Revised edition, Univ. of Chicago
Press, Chicago/London, 1963, referred to on the basis of the Russian
edition: I.J.Gelb. Opyt Izutcheniya Pis'ma, I.M.Diakonoff (ed.), Moscow,
Raduga Press, 1982.

Johannes Friedrich. Geschichte der Schrift. Heidelberg 1966, Carl Winter


Back to archive top level